The Big Idea: Small scale permaculture is the solution to most environmental problems.
Ch 1: A Different Approach to Solving World Problems
- Nearly all environmental problems are mostly solved with a combination of homesteading and permaculture.
Ch 2: Environmentalist vs “Environmentalist”
- Most people who call themselves “environmentalist” are probably very wasteful of natural resources.
- Energy use is the best metric for defining an environmentalist.
- The average American adult spends $83 a month on heat and electricity.
Ch 3: The Wicked Lies About Light Bulbs
- The LED light bulb is a good metaphor for environmental thinking.
- It sounds environmentally friendly, but mathematically, the incandescent bulb is better (lower toxicity, more efficient for those in cold climates, better light quality.)
Ch 4: Carbon Footprint
- The average American adult generates 30 tons of annual carbon emissions.
- Focusing on 80/20, the big winners are to reduce your heat usage in cold climates and to grow your own food.
Ch 5: Petroleum Footprint
- The unsubsidized price for a gallon of gasoline is actually three times higher.
- Lots of ways to reduce fuel consumption.
- 80/20 says to telecommute and to grow your own food.
Ch 6: Toxic Footprint
- Sources of toxins that probably cause cancer and other diseases: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, plastic with BPA, aspartame, sucralose, saccharine
- What to do: stop using toxic soaps and shampoos, stop using toxic household cleaners, don’t drink chlorinated water, stop using teflon, stop using plastic containers, live in a home built with toxin-free materials, avoid city pollution
Ch 7: The Wheaton Eco Scale
Ch 8: Moving Way Beyond Recycling
- There is no such thing as waste in nature. Everything is recycled.
- Even better than recycling is not using packaging in the first place. Grow as much of your own food as possible.
Ch 9: Vote with Your Wallet
- Stop buying traditional, industrial-grown food.
- “If you think organic food is expensive, have you priced cancer recently?”
Ch 10: Radically Deviant Financial Strategies
- If your life doesn’t change if you had a million dollar, then is it fair to say you’re living the life of a millionaire.
- Want to learn how to live without a mortgage? Read Rob Roy’s book Mortgage Free.
- Jacob Lund Fisker has a blog “Early Retirement Extreme” which says basically live frugally and save 75% of your income.
- An alternative is to build one or multiple side businesses.
- Another alternative is to try community living and pool your resources.
Ch 11: Organic vs Local
- Permaculture >> organic >> local
Ch 12: Vegan vs Omnivore vs Junk Food
- Veganism is a noble path.
- In terms of impact, polyculture/permaculture >> vegan >> junk food.
- Cowspiracy stats are a load of manure.
- The lowest-impact and most healthy source of food is your own backyard.
Ch 13: Really Reducing Home Energy Usage
- Nearly all war and pollution is related to energy usage.
- Most energy usage is related to heating and cooling, including heating water.
- Use more blankets, insulate your home better, take shorter showers, use a toaster oven, get a smaller house.
Ch 14: More People Living Under One Roof Without Stabbing Each Other
- Keep the common areas clean by charging more rent and hiring a cleaning service.
Ch 15: Toxic Gick vs 20 Years of Your Life
- As a cleaner, water alone is enough 90% of the time.
- Vinegar and baking soda can clean most surfaces fine.
- Cast iron >> teflon.
- Use diatomaceous earth for insect control.
Ch 16: The Huge Link Between Food and Global Footprint
- Learn permaculture concepts to grow your own food with minimal effort.
Ch 17: Double the Food with One Tenth of the Effort
- Direct seeding >> transplanting.
- No-till >> tilling.
- Hugelkultur raised beds.
- Perennials >> annuals.
- Chop-and-drop is an ideal approach to mulching.
- Incorporate deciduous trees in your permaculture design.
- Polyculture is required.
- Include mushrooms for diversity and resiliency.
Ch 18: The Dark Side of Native Plant Enthusiasm
- Better understanding of horticulture >> blind advocacy for native plants.
Ch 19: 20 Things to Do with the Twigs That Fall n Your Backyard
- Mulch, hugelkultur, brush piles.
Ch 20: Not Composting
- Instead of composting, feed kitchen scraps to your chickens.
Ch 21: Better Than a Solar Panel – A Solar Food Dehydrator
- Properly dehydrated food can last for years.
Ch 22: Breaking the Toxic Water Cycle with Greywater Recycling
- Read Create an Oasis with Greywater by Art Ludwig.
- Build a laundry-to-landscape system, and use environmentally friendly laundry detergent.
Ch 23: Harvesting Electricity in Your Backyard
- Going off-grid forces to you question your energy usage.
- The best off-grid power source is micro hydro.
Ch 24: The Conventional Lawn vs a Mowable Meadow
- Mow higher and always leave the clippings.
- Water deep and less often.
- Build earthworm towns once and pile on organic matter regularly for them to eat.
Ch 25: How Vegans Benefit from Caring for Farm Animals
- If you’re a vegan, either your farm animals do the work, or you do the work.
- Pamper your animals with a movable paddock shift system.
- Get a livestock guardian dog.
Ch 26: Replacing Petroleum with People
- Try to incorporate people and hand tools when possible.
Ch 27: Wrestling with Poop Beasts and Peeing in the Garden
- Build a dry outhouse on an elevated mound.
- Urinate near plants or use a urine diverter and use diluted urine to fertilize plants.
Ch 28: The Solutions to Colony Collapse Disorder are Embarrassingly Simple
- Organic beekeeping >> conventional beekeeping.
Ch 29: Destroy Your Orchard to Make a Food Forest
- A monocrop orchard is not permaculture.
- Trees from seeds >> trees grown from starters.
- The bottom third of a fruit tree is for critters, the middle third is for humans, the top third is for birds.
Ch 30: A Building Design that Solves Almost Everything
- A straw bale house has walls made from natural materials, but is otherwise the same as a conventional house, only with thicker walls and more expensive.
- A cob house is similar to a straw bale house, but more labor intensive, and, maybe more fun and beautiful.
- The ideal permaculture home is an underground home, in the style of Mike Oehler – a wofati.